Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday's 3 Rs -- those pesky used gift cards

Did you know that used gift cards can be recycled? Well, they can. And that's a good thing! Every year, we throw over 75 million pounds of PVC material from these plastic cards into the landfill. Over 75 million pounds!!!!!

So the next time you're about to toss one in the trash, STOP!! Best Buy is one retailer that accepts used gift cards (and not just their own). They have kiosks in the front of the store where you can drop off your cards.

Whenever you need to find recycling info on anything specific, just visit and type in your item and zip code. The site will direct you to the closest drop-off location.

If you don't have a Best Buy close to you, another option is to simply mail your cards to Earthworks where they will chop them up, melt them down and create new cards and other products out of 100% recycled PVC.

Cards can be mailed to:

c/o: Halprin Ind.
25480 Miles Rd.
Bedford, OH  44146

Put your name or the name of your organization on the package so they can track it. Include only the cards ... no rubber bands, paper clips, or paper.

In lieu of recycling your old gift cards, you can check into the possibility of reloading them. Many retailers will be happy to reload them for you and then you can give them as gifts -- this is regifting at its finest!

But what if you have unused gift cards sitting around that you know you're never going to use? It happens. Someone buys a gift card for a store that caters to petite women and gives it to a woman who's a size 14. Or a card to a beer distributor given to a recently proclaimed alcoholic. Dumb, perhaps, but it happens. Do not despair! Simply swap your card for cash. is the place to go. They have over 1,000 agents across the U.S. Or you can send the card into Keep in mind you will not get the full value for your card, but it's better than having it sit in your desk drawer for years unused.

Recycling your used gift cards is not your only green option. You can also find household uses for them. Here are just a few ideas I gleaned from
  • Use them as scrapers and texturing tools when painting, sculpting or making pottery
  • Punch holes in them and use them to keep threads separated when doing needlepoint, crochet or cross stitch projects
  • Cut them into shapes for stenciling
  • Paint them and cut them out to use as scrapbooking embellishments
For more ideas on how to reuse gift cards for household projects, check out This Old House.

Remind your husbands and dads not to throw away all the cards they get for Father's Day once they've spent them!

Keeping things out of the landfill,


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